Jewish Senior Life

Physical therapist discusses specialized treatment for Parkinson’s patients

Q: You’ve been with Jewish Senior Life since 2018. Can you describe how physical therapy (PT) has evolved during your tenure?

A: The greatest evolution in patient care is the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and I have been trained at the American Institute of Balance, LSVT [Lee Silverman Voice Treatment] and Rock Steady Boxing to safely and strategically address the symptoms of Parkinson’s; and also improve a patient’s strength, balance and overall quality of life.

Q: How do you structure your PT sessions and what are the most common conditions you treat?

A: We provide one-on-one 45-minute sessions. In addition to PD, I treat the whole spectrum of outpatient physical therapy: joint sprains, muscle strains, back and neck pain, postoperative rehabilitation, dizziness, and more. The majority of people I see are generally deconditioned, unsteady on their feet, and want to get back to moving and feeling better about themselves.

Q: What training or education have you achieved to stay up-to-date on current therapy trends?

A: I am certified in Vestibular Therapy and Concussion by the American Institute of Balance to treat patients who have a history of falls, dizziness, unsteadiness, vertigo, vestibular issues and post-concussion syndrome. I am LSVT BIG certified, as well as certified in Rock Steady Boxing.

Q: Tell us about LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD for Parkinson’s. How can it help and when is the best time to start?

A: LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD are established treatments and have been used here. Start right away — it’s never too late! PD affects a person’s ability to control amplitude and force of movement and their voice. LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD were specifically designed to combat this and improve movement and voice volume.

Q: You recently completed Rock Steady Boxing training. How can this improve PD wellness?

A: We are currently developing a program for Rock Steady Boxing. Guidelines from The Parkinson’s Foundation are that people need 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of intense exercise a week for better quality of life and slower decline. Rock Steady Boxing can safely offer that intense cardiovascular and strength training. The movements involved in boxing perfectly address the deficits and impairments of people with PD. Boxing teaches you how to move in a functional way — with good balance, proper foot work, rotation, dual-tasking movements, and making large amplitude movements. All of this perfectly aligns with improving symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease

Q: How do you set expectations and keep patients motivated?

A: You’ll want to set aside any stress that’s on your mind and in your life, and take one day at a time and focus on yourself while you are in treatment. You will have to challenge yourself in order to change yourself. It’s not going to be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.

Name: Matt Berliner, Physical Therapist – Atkin Center for Outpatient Rehabilitation at Jewish Senior Life

Hometown: Henrietta, New York

Education: Doctor of Physical Therapy – University of Miami, Florida

Orthopedic Clinical Specialty – University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Certifications: Vestibular and Concussion Therapy – American Institute of Balance, LSVT BIG, Rock Steady Boxing

Family: Engaged with two children and two dogs

Hobbies: Family first, boxing, golf, pursuing my private pilot license, and the Buffalo Bills

2021 Winton Road S., Rochester, NY 14618

585 – 302-2759